Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Erel Shalit - The Hero Myth and Jungian Psychoanalysis

“Where id was, there ego shall be,” proclaims Freud. By interpretation, the unconscious is made conscious. Interpretation is the sword of psychoanalysis, splitting the enigmas of the unconscious into intelligible slices of consciousness. A symbol’s multitude of meanings becomes the unitary signs and banners of consciousness. The ego, which in Jungian thought stands at the center of consciousness and conscious identity, may be stiffly bound to the totem of collective consciousness, to norms and conventions. Alternatively, the ego may bravely turn around to face what lies in the unconscious.

For this purpose, the ego needs the hero. The notion of the hero in Jung’s analytical psychology represents that particular aspect of the ego that ventures into the darkness of the shadow, searches for “the treasure, the princess, the ring, the golden egg, elixir of life, etc.,” which, as Daryl Sharp says, all are “metaphors for one’s true feelings and unique potential.” By means of its hero-function, the ego turns toward the Self and a vital and dynamic relationship between them is made possible. As Joseph Campbell succinctly says, “The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world.”

….The central, nuclear myth of Jungian psychoanalysis is the Hero-myth, because the psychological essence of the hero is to abandon the kingdom of the ego, to challenge the norms and obsessions of collective consciousness and the persona—the face of social adaptation—and to search for meaning. The absence of meaning is the essence of neurosis, which, Jung says, “must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.” When Sartre says that man is “the incontestable author” who, condemned to freedom, “is responsible for the world and for himself as a way of being,” he speaks of heroic man. (pp. 17-18)

 Erel Shalit (2008). Enemy, Cripple & Beggar: Shadows in the Hero’s Path, Fisher King Press.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mark Winborn - Participation Mystique: An Overview

Excerpt from - Introduction: An Overview of Participation Mystique

"As we can see, as a concept, participation mystique has a rich background. A review of the participation mystique literature allows us to recognize that the projective and identificatory tendencies, which are at the heart of participation mystique, can sometimes be acknowledged, recognized, or reduced. However, these processes are always a part of our intersubjective interaction and communication in all facets of our lives, and particularly in analysis. Participation mystique does not function like a light switch – to be turned off or on depending upon the situation – regardless of whether one has been cautioned about its potential dangers. The degree of influence from participation mystique is distributed as a continuum of experience and is ever present in our interactions with others and our environments. These influences will likely never be eliminated, nor would it be desirable to do so if we could. In fact, to blindly attempt to restrict participation mystique experience is to reduce the depth to which we are able to connect with others and our surroundings, or to reduce the available ‘field knowledge’ in the analytic setting. At this point, given our current relationship to psyche, we might wonder about the motivation behind a desire to limit such connection rather than develop a relationship to such experiences.

The intent of this book is to provide a new look at participation mystique - coming at it from various points of view: from personal narratives, theory, clinical experience, cross-cultural exploration, and archetypal dynamics. Ultimately, my hope is that these chapters paint a picture of participation mystique as a broader umbrella term for a wide variety of intersubjective phenomena. In its traditional usage, the clinical utility of the term is limited because the term often hasn’t been used in a differentiated manner. Hubback finds it, “regrettable that the anthropologist Lévy-Bruhl should have had his phrase over-used and distorted, when the perhaps rival psychological concepts of projection, introjection, identification and the transcendent function really serve us better. Identifying with those structures in the analyst which have developed as a result of her working on instinctual ‘animal nature’ in herself, can and does happen within the therapeutic relationship; projections and introjections can be discerned and described. I think they are marvelous, but not mystical.”107 The term becomes useful when used to describe a class of interactive experiences. When the various component constituents for the class are seen as being related, i.e. having a similar underlying process, then participation mystique acquires usefulness – somewhat like how the term ‘particle physics’ defines and delineates a particular area of inquiry within physics. 

Participation mystique evolves, just as psyche evolves, and we are now at a point of greater receptivity to what participation mystique offers than we were a century ago when depth psychology was in its infancy. We are at a significant juncture in the development of psychoanalysis in general and analytical psychology specifically; a time of convergence and crossfertilization in which we have the opportunity to re-examine established or accepted theories and concepts based on cumulative clinical experience, developments in others fields, and shifts in our culture - all of which ultimately impact how we practice as analysts and analytic therapists. Just such an exploration is undertaken in the chapters that follow." (pp. 24-25)
Passage from Mark Winborn (2014). Participation Mystique: An Overview, in Mark Winborn (Ed.). Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond. Fisher King Press, 2014.
Order from Amazon or Fisher King Press
Full sample chapter available at the Fisher King Press link.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Early Praise for Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond

Shared Realities: Participation Mystique and Beyond, edited by Mark Winborn and published by Fisher King Press, brings together Jungian analysts and psychoanalysts from across the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Jung’s concept of participation mystique is used as a starting point for an in depth exploration of ‘shared realities’ in the analytic setting and beyond. The clinical, narrative, and theoretical discussions move through such related areas as: projective identification, negative coniunctio, reverie, intersubjectivity, the interactive field, phenomenology, neuroscience, the transferential chimera, shamanism, shared reality of place, borderland consciousness, and mystical participation. This unique collection of essays bridges theoretical orientations and includes some of the most original analytic writers of our time (approximately 270 pages). Available June 1st.

"Jung's use of the concept participation mystique has always struck me as among his most original ideas and I could vaguely intuit its relevance to many contemporary developments in psychoanalysis, from projective identification to intersubjectivity to the mysteries of transitional space.  Now, thanks to the extraordinary essays in this book, one no longer has to "intuit" this relevance.  It is spelled out in beautiful detail by writers with expertise in many facets of our field.  The breadth of these essays is truly extraordinary.  Reading them has enriched both my personal and professional life.  I highly recommend this book."

Donald Kalsched, Ph.D. author of  The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit (Routledge, 1996) and Trauma and the Soul: A Psycho-spiritual Approach to Human Development and its Interruption (Routledge, 2013).

"The concept of 'participation mystique' is one that is often considered a somewhat arcane notion disparagingly equated with an unconscious, undifferentiated or 'primitive' dynamic.   This collection of outstanding articles from Jungian analysts of different theoretical perspectives and analysts from different schools of depth psychology redeems this concept and locates it as central to depth work, regardless of one’s theoretical orientation.   What may seem like an ethereal notion becomes grounded when explored from the perspective of the clinical, the experiential and the theoretical.   Linking participation mystique to the more clinical concepts of projective identification, unitary reality, empathy, the intersubjective field and the neurosciences and locating this dynamic in the field of the transference and counter-transference, brings this concept to life in a refreshingly clear and related manner.   In addition, each author does so in a very personal manner.

This book provides the reader with a wonderful example of amplification of participation mystique, linking many diverse threads and fibers to form an image, which, while it reveals its depth and usefulness, nevertheless maintains its sense of mystery.  This book is a true delight for anyone intrigued by those “moments of meeting”, moments of awe, when the ineffable becomes manifest, when we feel the shiver down our spine, be it in our work or in a moment of grace as we sit quietly in nature. Shared Realities offers nourishment for the clinician, for the intellect and, most importantly, for the soul.  I highly recommend it!" 

Tom Kelly - President, International Association for Analytical Psychology and Past-President, Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts